Consumer Focus launched the complaints league table today (November 8) to present data on complaints to energy companies in what they hope will be a transparent and user-friendly way.

In the first league table Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) do best with a 4-star rating and npower, EDF and Scottish Power come last with only 2 stars.

The performance rating is based on data from July to September this year. The table is to be published quarterly.

The data ranks energy firms’ performance based on the type and number of complaints sent to Conusmer Direct, Consumer Focus and the Energy Ombudsman.

Stars are awarded to the Big 6 energy companies based on a weighted score. The score is based on how many complaints the supplier received in relation to its market share, as well as the severity of each complaint.

During the last financial year, the Big 6 energy suppliers received around 4.6 million customer complaints.

In Consumer Focus research, nearly half of consumers said that having information to compare how companies handle complaints would be useful when deciding whether to switch provider.

Consumer Focus chief executive Mike O’Connor, CBE,said: “We know energy companies are rooted at the bottom of our consumer trust survey.

“They have got a lot to do to win the respect of their customers and getting a firm grip on customer service and complaint handling should be a priority in the boardroom of these companies.

“They should all be aiming to be a five star service.

“Scottish and Southern Energy are the clear leaders, but the difference between energy suppliers is stark when they all sell an identical commodity under the same market rules.

“Having three suppliers languishing on just two stars is a pretty miserable state of affairs. Good service is really important to customers and people want the truth about complaints so they can make informed choices when deciding whether to switch.”

The table only gives data for the Big 6 suppliers who make up over 99% of the domestic market. Consumer Focus aims to publish a similar league table for smaller suppliers in April next year.

Alison Brown

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